Got milk? We all recognize the slogan from the dairy industry’s ads featuring celebrities with milk-mustached upper lips.
But here’s a new version. “Got milk? Got ricotta.”
Yes, homemade fresh ricotta is as close as your refrigerator. It requires only a quart of milk and a lemon and is easy and inexpensive to make at home in just a few minutes.
HOMEMADE RICOTTATo make a cup of ricotta, heat a quart (4 cups) of whole or 2% milk in a large saucepan just to a gentle boil, stirring often at first and then continuously. Stir in the juice of a lemon (about two tablespoons, for lemon-scented ricotta, add the zest too). Over low heat, stir until small curds begin to form and the whey begins to separate. Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towels, let drain for about 15 minutes, throw away the whey that collects underneath. Stir in about a teaspoon of kosher salt. (Update: This is what I call "Skinny Ricotta". For more tips and the recipe for "Creamy Ricotta" that uses buttermilk instead of lemon juice, check out my new recipe for How to Make Homemade Ricotta.)
That's it, you've made ricotta! And this stuff is good!
EASY RADISH SPREADIn a food processor, whiz a half pound of trimmed red radishes, 3 green onions and 4 to 8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pita crisps or fresh vegetables.
PITA CRISPSSplit mini pitas in half and arrange rough-side up on a baking sheet. Mist with olive oil or cooking spray, then sprinkle with favorite dried herbs or spice blends or a little good salt. Bake until just crisp at 350F. Where to find mini pitas? My favorite source is Trader Joe's.
HERBED RICOTTA with
ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES
Time to table: 60 minutes
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, preferably some red, some yellow
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bay leaf, torn in half
- Salt & pepper
- 1 cup homemade ricotta (or commercial ricotta)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Additional chopped herbs
- Good bread for schmearing, sliced and toasted
Set oven to 325F. In a bowl, stir together tomatoes, oil, garlic, bay leaf and salt and pepper, until tomatoes are evenly coated with oil. (For a low-fat version, omit the tablespoon of oil but mist the tomatoes with olive oil.) Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven (there’s no need to wait for it to finish preheating). Stirring once or twice, roast tomatoes for 45 minutes or until they are just starting to pop but still firm. Discard bay leaf and garlic.
Meanwhile, combine ricotta and herbs until smooth and mound on a serving dish. Top with hot tomatoes, garnish with additional fresh herbs and surround with the toasted bread slices. Serve while warm and enjoy!
ALANNA's TIPS The HERBED RICOTTA is an “appetizer to share” easily served from a common dish. But for an elegant presentation, make up individual small plates garnished with fresh herbs.
Such Easy Summer Appetizers!(recipes above)
Love-Love-Love Summer Tomatoes
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